Several Mandarin-speaking men were seen gathering tiny saltwater crabs at the Wu Kai Sha beach in Ma On Shan – and eating them raw.
That’s not only bad for the ecological balance of the place but also poses risks to the health of those who consume the uncooked crustaceans, news website HK01.com reports.
According to an online post by a netizen named Ben Ben Man, he saw the men hunting for live crabs in between the rocks known as Heart of the Ocean, a spot on the beach which has become a favorite meeting place for youngsters and lovers.
When he advised them to leave the crabs alone, the men apparently heeded his advice and left.
However, he later saw the lid of a mooncake tin box on the rocks, which, upon closer inspection, yielded torn parts and broken shells of more than 20 crabs as well as bits of spices.
The post, which showed pictures of the men and the remains of crabs they left behind, went viral on social media with many netizens assailing the “mainland tourists” for their “cruel” and “selfish” acts.
Dr. Angus Chan, president of the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians, told Headline Daily that tiny crabs living on the beach normally carry large amounts of parasites and bacteria such as E.coli and Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
Consuming raw or undercooked shellfish could lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, or more serious infections.
WWF Hong Kong told the newspaper that capturing the tiny crabs in large quantities could cause an ecological imbalance in a particular habitat.
According to the Centre for Food Safety, marinating crabs with ingredients such as wine, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic or chilli cannot eliminate the harmful microorganisms inside them.
Some parasites found in seafood such as Paragonimus westermani, also known as lung fluke, could cause lung disease, or worse, meningitis in the brain.
It was not the first time that mainland Chinese tourists were reported to have caused a stir for hunting live shellfish and other sea creatures for immediate consumption.
Last month members of a Chinese tour group were seen dredging up live sea urchins at a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy.
Chinese tourists cause stir in quiet Italian fishing village (Oct. 28, 2016)
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